Houston, TX — WHR Architects has named Lia Rodi, AIA, LEED AP, as the new curator of the firm’s highly regarded Tradewell Fellowship Program, now in it’s 15th year. For Rodi, a past Tradewell Fellow, her first official duty was the announcement of the 2012 Fellow Akshay Sangolli. “It’s an honor to assume responsibility for the Tradewell program”, says Rodi. "Fourteen years ago, my own year as a Tradewell Fellow under the guidance of Kirk Hamilton was the ideal preparation for my new role. My experience and work with other Tradewells over the years has provided a model that will help me to be of the best possible service to the Fellowship as a leader and mentor.”
Although a period of internship is a long-standing tradition in the architectural profession, there are still few Fellowships that offer recent graduates a focused opportunity to gain experience working closely with senior firm leaders and significant interaction with clients. This year’s Fellow, Akshay Sangolli, pursued the Tradewell in recognition of its exceptional nature. “It is a unique opportunity that puts you at an entirely different level at the outset of your career,” notes Sangolli. “The Tradewell Fellowship offers perfect combination of professional guidance, academic realization and hands-on learning.”
“The Fellowship is an extraordinary opportunity for someone particularly interested in healthcare facility planning and design,” says Charles Cadenhead, FAIA, FACHA, FCCM, Senior Principal, and Senior Medical Planner, the immediate past curator of the program. “We are able to bring exemplary people into healthcare architecture, which, in turn, raises the level of healthcare design in the profession.”
“It is a natural extension of our firm-wide commitment to mentorship,” says WHR President and Chairman David Watkins, FAIA, who along with Kirk Hamilton FAIA, FACHA,EDAC, now a professor at Texas A&M University and associate director the Center for Health Systems & Design, established the commemorative Fellowship in honor of the late Gary Tradewell, a former Vice President and Medical Planner at WHR. “The caliber of the Fellows has been consistently high. Every year these young stars not only learn — they contribute to the knowledge base of the practice and enrich the profession. Other firms have just now begun to emulate the program.”
The yearlong Tradewell Fellowship was created to build careers of aspiring healthcare architects. Each year, the Tradewell Fellow is involved with clients in early master planning and design with a particular focus on healing environments and collaborative design methods as a part of their employment at WHR Architects in Houston. In addition to working directly with senior medical planners on design projects, Fellows receive career guidance from leaders at WHR and a network of past Tradewell Fellows. “It is amazing to see the strength of the intergenerational working relationships and the nurturing that helps the Fellows develop into prized staff members that become leaders and mentors themselves” adds Rodi.
In addition to project assignments, the Fellow also receives a scholarship to attend a healthcare architecture conference, and the opportunity to attend many in-house educational presentations. Other educational opportunities include: assisting with teaching a graduate level course on health facility planning, design and construction; participating in evidence-based design activities; and assisting members of the firm in authoring speeches, articles or books.
Fellows are selected by the group of past “Tradewells” at WHR based the strength of their design portfolios, letters of recommendation and essays describing their accomplishments and career goals.
Sangolli, who began his Fellowship in June, summarized his goals: “In the long term, I want explore how architecture can enhance human health, healing and well-being. I hope to participate in improving the quality of the built environment and its implications on human life around the world, especially in much-neglected developing nations.” Based on the career trajectory of the previous Fellows, he will no doubt succeed.
For more information about the Tradewell Fellowship, visit www.whrarchitects.com/tradewell, or follow @tradewellfellow on Twitter.
For more information about WHR Architects, visit www.whrarchitects.com and follow @whrarchitects on Twitter. Contact Nancy Egan, National PR Consultant at New Voodou or Michael Jones, Public Relations Manager at WHR Architects for additional information.
About WHR Architects, Inc.
WHR Architects is a full service architecture, interior design and technology planning firm. The firm’s commitment to critical thinking is balanced by an ingrained empathy that results in both improved project outcomes and positive working experiences for their clients. With over 100 people in Houston and Dallas, Texas, Washington DC and New Jersey, the 33-year-old firm is working on projects throughout the US for top–tier public and private education and medical institutions. WHR was named the 2008 AIA Houston Firm of the Year and 2010 IIDA Texas/Oklahoma Pinnacle Firm of the Year.